A new global campaign to stop the spread of AIDS uses three animated characters dressed as condoms to deliver a serious message in humorous public service spots in 41 languages: If you're going to have sex, use a condom. \nThe short spots are being offered free to broadcasters, community groups and universities and have the potential of reaching 80 percent of the world's population, Canadian producer-director Firdaus Kharas said Tuesday. \n"We're using humor to stop the spread of AIDS," he told a news conference launching the public service announcements which are targeted at young people aged 15 to 24 in places threatened by the epidemic, including India, China, Russia, the Caribbean and central Asia. \n"The Three Amigos" -- as the cartoon condoms named Shaft, Stretch and Dick are called -- are pictured in a variety of settings from a spaceship to a soccer field to a casino. Twenty different spots are available in each of the 41 languages and they vary in length from 20 to 60 seconds, with some quite blatantly sexual and others much more restrained to appeal to different audiences. \nThe punch line in the spaceship spot says: "No condom, No blastoff. Stop the spread of AIDS." The soccer spot says: "You just can't score without a condom." And the spot focusing on a roulette wheel in a casino says: "Not all gamblers realize the odds stacked against them. Don't gamble with your life. Use a condom. Stop the spread of AIDS." \nKharas said the idea for the spots came from his co-producer, South African film writer Brent Quint, who believes as he does that AIDS is "a preventable disease," and that using animated figures and humor can get the message across that condoms are essential for safe sex. \nThe spots are currently being shown in South Africa, Canada and the Netherlands and have already won 25 international awards and a strong endorsement from South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu who called them "a powerful communicating tool to encourage people to change their behavior." \nKharas said the most popular spot being shown in South Africa is one promoting a female contraceptive. \nAsked how the spots had been received in the US, where President George W. Bush's administration is promoting abstinence rather than condom use, Kharas said arguing about abstinence vs. condoms "is sterile" because 5.3 million people got the HIV virus last year. \n"The Three Amigos" was conceived and written in South Africa. The characters, props and layouts were designed and created in Canada, and the background and animation was done in India, Kharas said. More than 320 people volunteered their time and expertise to the project to support the campaign against AIDS, he said. \nKharas expressed hope that with spots now available in Arabic, Hindi, Cantonese, Mandarin, and a host of other languages, the audience will grow and the HIV and AIDS epidemic will eventually start to decline.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
BEYOND CULTURE: The US State Department was expected to announce that the Chinese government-funded institutes would have to register as foreign missions US President Donald Trump’s administration is increasing scrutiny of a long-established Chinese-government funded program that is dedicated to teaching Chinese language and culture in the US and other nations, the latest escalation of tensions with Beijing. The US Department of State was expected to announce as soon as yesterday that Confucius Institutes in the US — many of which are based on college campuses — would have to register as “foreign missions,” according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. The designation would amount to a conclusion that the institutes are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by